Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tooth fairy? How about the Tooth Rat?

My nephew is 6 years old and as you might imagine, that means he usually has a tooth on the verge of falling out. In the traditional way, when one of his tiny teeth finally falls out, he puts it under his pillow and goes to bed just twitching with excitement. However, he´s not counting on a fairy to flit into the room and replace his tooth with 20 pesos, but the Mexican version of the tooth fairy - Ratoncito Perez, or simply "El Ratoncito." With a little in-depth research (wikipedia), I find that only us English-speakers are expecting the Tooth Fairy - in pretty much all the Spanish-speaking world and Italy and France, the little tooth thief is a rat. Initially, it kind of gave me the heeby jeebies to imagine a little rat skulking around in my nephew´s bed, but I guess it actually makes more sense than a fairy.
One question my nephew raised that I can´t answer however is: "What does el Ratoncito want all those teeth for?" I guess that´s why we don´t question tradition.


Temeculamom said...

That is such a cute picture! I'm not Mexican (well only by marriage), but in my family growing up, we always left our teeth for the Tooth Rat who would leave us some change and a personalized poem.

André. Original text© said...

In Brazil, it's a fairy too.

Angela said...

We have a Tooth Rat in our family, though I have no idea why as we are American mutts of European decent from WAY back.

But, in our family, the Tooth Rat wears purple satin pants and a multi-colored vest and collects teeth to make necklaces for his wives. Plural intentional.